If your business runs a fleet of vehicles you will already be aware of how expensive they can be to manage. Bad fleet management can significantly eat into your business profits and can leave you with headaches and challenges that are simply unnecessary.
Your company depends on having vehicles that can operate at a high level. Poor levels of maintenance, worries about theft, and inefficient management can be a huge problem – but these issues can all be easily dealt with if you put in a little care and attention.
Here we take a look at some key fleet management tips. They will focus on keeping your fleet running efficiently and in good order, as well as ensuring that they remain safe and secure through their lifespan.
Managing fuel costs
Undoubtedly, one of the major challenges for fleets today is spending on fuel. Rising fuel costs and excessive spending can hit your budget surprisingly hard. Even putting in measures to be efficient may not be enough to deal with the fact that fuel prices are likely to continue to rise into the future.
Fleet managers must find more effective ways to optimise their vehicle usage. Too often vehicles are sent on redundant or inefficient trips. It can be extremely effective to put in place supervision on vehicle sign-outs, as well as trip logging. This will add to admin, but it can certainly save you money.
Protect the fleet with anti-theft barriers
It is natural to have concerns over the potential theft of your vehicles when they are being stored outside of working hours. Round the clock observation can be expensive and may be unnecessary.
Security and concrete barrier specialists Maltaward explain the value of using barriers to protect your fleet: “heavy-duty barriers are exceptionally difficult to lift or move, requiring special machinery to install and remove them. Without the proper equipment, it would be very difficult to lift them or push them aside.”
If you do have concerns that criminals or vandals might wish to get access to your fleet, using concrete barriers can be a very effective solution. It’s worth talking with a local specialist about putting barriers in place on your site.
It is not a good idea to simply let drivers choose whichever vehicle they would like to use for the job. If vehicle distribution descends into a free-for-all, you are likely to see employees either choosing the newest vehicles, or picking their favourites, which they use on a regular basis. You might think that it’s not an issue to let drivers pick the vehicles they are most comfortable in.
However, in this case you are going to see more significant wear and tear on the popular vehicles. Additionally, vehicles may be left idle for a significant period, which runs down their warranty unnecessarily. The popular vehicles will also accrue more miles on the clock, and be responsible for more repairs.
Instead, vehicles should be rotated on a fair and impartial system so that all drivers use all of the vehicles.
Invest in preventative maintenance
Too many businesses that are completely reliant on their vehicles simply don’t do enough to keep them well-maintained. It is still unfortunately common that servicing will not occur until the vehicles require significant attention or major repairs. The truth is at this point you will be spending money to fix serious faults.
It can be a far better idea to invest in proactive preventative maintenance on a regular schedule. Initially this might seem like a cost outlay, but over time it will save you a huge amount of money. Spending money upfront will pay for itself in the long-term – and it will also help you to avoid having any major incidents with vehicles on the road.
Manage the size of your fleet effectively
It may be the case that as your business grows, it is necessary to add vehicles as soon as possible to keep up with demand. Of course, that’s good news and can mean that you have an effective, growing company. However, buying too many vehicles will naturally eat into your budget heavily – and over-investing during a busy period, may become significantly expensive.
It is a much better idea to optimise the size of your fleet. Yes, you want to have a little slack in the system – but you’ll work most efficiently and to a better budget when you have just enough capacity for your workload.
Of course, it is essential to have the capacity in your fleet should a vehicle face unexpected downtime. Keep a few of your older vehicles on standby or consider having an agreement in place with a vehicle hire agency.
It may be the case that your company still uses arduous manual admin. This can take up a significant amount of time attempting to manage the fleet effectively. It is more than likely that this is simply a legacy system that has been in the company for many years with no specific reason to keep it.
As such, now might be the perfect time to move to a digital fleet management system. There are actually many different software solutions available with different strengths and weaknesses. It is a great idea to do some research into which system might be best suited to you and your business.
Using this kind of software can not only help to make your fleet more efficient and effective – it can also free up management time. You and your staff will be able to refocus all that time previously spent on tedious admin on more productive, business-critical tasks.
Good fleet management saves you a significant amount of money, time and effort. It can also give you peace of mind that your fleet is running efficiently at all times. While making changes to the way your business operates can feel like a challenge, it will definitely be worth it in the long term.
Author: Annie Button, Freelance Writer